Nevada Day is held on the final Friday of October and celebrates the admission of Nevada into the Union on 31 October 1864. In 2018, the holiday falls on 26 October.
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Nevada Day was originally called “Admission Day” and was celebrated by the Pacific Coast Pioneer Society back in the 1870s. 31 October became a state-recognized holiday in 1933. However, the date was tweaked in 2000 to the final Friday of October in the hopes that a three-day weekend would gain greater participation. It also avoids the coinciding of the holiday with Halloween, though occasionally it still does fall on 31 October, as in 2014.
Nevada Day is one of the major statehood celebrations in the United States, and the main attraction is the Carson Parade in downtown Carson City, the state capital. There is also a carnival and a number of other events in Carson City, and Las Vegas, Henderson, and other cities also have special events.
If visiting Carson City, Nevada, for Nevada Day, some of the main events to take part in are:
- Sit down and watch the parade pass by while eating some delicious Nevada-style chili at the Annual Chili Feed in the restaurant called the “Carson Nugget.” You will want to get there early to ensure you beat the crowds, but once inside, you can sit in the upstairs banquet hall, listen to live music, mingle with Nevadan political figures present, and pile the cheese and toppings on your steaming hot chili.
- See the Nevada Day Balloon Launch, where colorful hot air balloons with baskets and riders rise into the morning sky. You can take a ride inside one of the balloons yourself for a fee if you wish. The balloons leave Carson Street, near the mall, and last for 45 to 60 minutes. The view is spectacular, and you can join the Tailgate Party afterwards for a tasty meal.
- Stop by the RSVP Nevada Day Fair held at Mills Park within Carson City. It runs from Thursday through Sunday, and there are Ferris wheels and many other fair and carnival rides. You can get an all-day wristband to save money if you plan to spend the day there, and there are plenty of food and craft booths to shop at inside the fair grounds. You will also hear barbershop quartets, DJs, and other singers perform.
- Take the Carson City Historical East Side Tour. It starts at the state capital building’s steps and runs for two miles through the historic section of the city. The on-foot tour will give you a little exercise, plenty of fresh air, and plenty of information on Nevadan history from your tour guide. The tour is 100 percent free of charge. You may also wish to take advantage of free admission all day long to the Nevada State Museum of Carson City, where you will see exhibits on Nevadan history, culture, and natural environment. Especially of note is the Carson City Mint that is present.